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Cablegate: Charges Stick, but Kaka Granted Provisional Release

VZCZCXRO0390
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #1007 2811348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071348Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4599
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0727

UNCLAS NIAMEY 001007

DEPT FOR AF/W DENNISON, AF/RSA HARPOLE AND AF/PDPA LISENBY

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI KCOR KPAO NG
SUBJECT: Charges Stick, but Kaka Granted Provisional Release

Ref: a) Niamey 964 and previous, b) Niamey 196, c) Niamey 093

1. (U) On October 7, the Nigerien High Court of Appeals affirmed new
charges against RFI affiliate director Moussa Kaka at the request of
state prosecutors, but granted him "immediate, provisional release"
from prison. No trial date has been set.

2. (U) Kaka was arrested on September 20, 2007, on charges of
"conspiracy against national security" for alleged collaboration
with MNJ rebels, and remained imprisoned until the October 7, 2008
ruling. On September 16, 2008, state prosecutors petitioned the
court to revise the charges against Kaka from conspiracy to "acts
aiming to undermine national defense." Kaka's lawyer requested that
the court affirm a previous ruling to dismiss the case and release
Kaka (ref a).

3. (U) Kaka had been ordered released previously; however, in each
prior instance state prosecutors appealed, and he remained in
custody pending a judicial ruling on the appeal. Prosecutors still
have forty-eight hours to appeal his provisional release; however,
post has confirmed with Kaka that he is now at home.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Kaka's release fits a pattern in other cases
involving journalists, where provisional release is granted, but
charges remain pending indefinitely. Most recently this occurred in
the cases of Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, director of Agadez-based private
newspaper Air Info (ref b), and two French journalists from European
TV station ARTE arrested for filming the MNJ (ref c). In Diallo's
case, although free, he remains potentially vulnerable to
prosecution at any time on the pending charges, should his reporting
displease GON officials. The release of the French journalists was
viewed as a face-saving solution, as the two were permitted to
return to France shortly after their release, and are presumably out
of reach of Nigerien prosecutors. END COMMENT.

WHITAKER

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